The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Giardia

    8
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Penis Fish

    1